Peace or Justice in Sudan

The news coming out of Sudan has been a bit bizarre this week as the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir on charges of war crimes. It’s the first time a warrant has been issued for a sitting head of state. In response, Sudan has been kicking international aid groups out of the country, threatening even more of the mess that Bashir is charged with in the first place.

What’s been especially interesting is the reaction of Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international aid organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Graham wrote a New York Times op-ed piece arguing that Bashir should be left in power in order to maintain peace in Sudan.

So what’s more important? Peace or justice? It seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation to me. There may be peace right now, but it’s being held together by a tyrant accused of war crimes. But bringing justice means more unrest, hardship and possibly death.

It reminds me of the situation in Iraq (if you ignore the whole weapons of mass destruction thing). Do you leave a murderous tyrant in charge or oust him and risk the messy aftermath?

Seems to me that real, lasting peace only comes when justice is ensured. But it’s never an easy process. Especially when different people have different ideas of what constitutes justice. Getting along with people (never mind entire countries of people) is no easy thing.

We’ve got friends who are currently in Khartoum, which makes this whole thing a lot more personal. We also had the option of a fuel layover in Khartoum on our way to Ethiopia (we opted not to take that route). Makes the world feel a lot smaller.

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